August 2003 Newsletter
Paul van den Berg was promoted to 1st Officer
Capt. Bill Odell is PIC (Pilot In Charge) of a New Bettles Branch Office.
Alaska IS FLYING – 13 out of 14 active pilots flew in August. (Not counting two new pilots with no activity).
Alaskan Pilots are sharing some interesting and challenging flights with the division and these can be found on the Flights/Adventure Page of the Alaskan Division.
We have made major strides this past month with the Alaska Division and have a lot planned for August. Capt Brent has done a super job with the Bettles Office site for me and now we have to make use of what he has given us. Flights out of Bettles are going to have a purpose and you are going to fly those flights as they did in the '50s and '60's a lot of the times by the seat of your pants. I have a few that will be exploration type missions where you go out and do the survey, feeding the info back so we can decide if it fits in with plans and then get someone to build the site for us.
Beckelhimer 73.97 hours
(career total: 744.39 hours)
(career total: 377.90 hours)
(career total: 206.53 hours)
(career total: 136.75 hours)
(career total: 111.00 hours)
TOTAL TIME BY DIVISION PILOTS IN JULY: 203.37 hours
Von Sennet 10.91 hours
BGAS005 Kevin Johnson 20.79 hours
BGAS006 Bill Agee 1.85 hours
BGAD011 Ed Burke 28.13 hours
BGAD017 John Lawler 3.00 hours
BGAD026 Norm Holman 11.50 hours
BGAK001 Brent Brazeel 17.52 hours
BGAK030 Ron Jorgensen 51.30 hours
BGAK031 Ralph Prisel 1.10 hours
BGAK033 Tom Burrill 7.78 hours
BGAM007 Alan Lowson 11.58 hours
TOTAL TIME BY VISITING PILOTS IN JULY: 165.46 hours
TOTAL TIME WITHIN THE NORTHERN DIVISION: 368.83 hours
2. Two Northern Division pilots are promoted to CAPT with this report: CAPT Don Hulick (BGAN033) and CAPT Gene Ward (BGAN035).
R/Sr. Capt. Bob Thompson
On our quest to become a conglomerate, Capt Joe has opened the railroad division called BGX. For those who long to park the plane and embark on a journey on the iron rails check it out. I don’t have a train simulator yet, but when TRAINZ 2004 comes out this fall, I will give it try.
From the CEO
According to the mainroster here are the hours for June:
Air Mail Pilots 31.57 Visitors 30.33 for a total of 61.90 hrs
Alaska Pilots 433.54 Visitors 72.21 for a total of 505.75 hrs
Australian Pilots 245.44 Visitors 43.21 for a total of 288.65 hrs
Northern Pilots 181.62 Visitors 167.13 for a total of 348.75 hrs
Southern Pilots 193.86 Visitors 139.83 for a total of 333.67 hrs
Turbo Div Visitors 102.4 hrs
Total for all Bluegrass Pilots 1086.03 hours
(visitor hours are not added to the total as the pilot is credited with the hours in his home division).
Feature of the Month by Bill Von Sennet
Flying the PanAm Boeing 307 “Strato Clipper” on the Miami-Cristobal, C.Z. and Miami-Belem, Brazil routes.
PanAm only had four 307’s. I think Bluegrass may be flying a few more than that this month.
We had 5,757 Visitors to www.bluegrassairlines.com. Only 1,700 came in through the front door, the rest linked directly to one of the pages.
You may have noticed a decrease in the quality of the “mood” music on the main page. That is intentional. We have switched from a .wav file to a .mid file. The reason is that it uses 1/10th of the throughput thus saving visitors time for it to load, and if we ever had a “crunch” (using too much thruput, per our contract) it would enable us to provide more of the important stuff like aircraft downloads. During July 912 visitors listened to the wav file, which used 292 megabytes, whereas latter in the month 756 visitors listened to the midi file using only 26 megabytes.
To put it in perspective, the next largest use of throughput was for downloading 139 Boeing Clippers for 182 megabytes. I would rather have 139 Clippers in the sky than listening to a higher quality sound.
Our new forum is now on its own at www.bluegrassairlines.com/yabbf Stop by and check out all the topics. The Alaska Division is the most active. You will also find fs 9 Century of Flight info there.
We also had a couple of hundred visitors to the Berlin Airlift site which is at www.billvons.com/bal
Flight Simulator 9 Century of Flight
More commonly known as FS 2004. Well it is out and several Bluegrass Pilots have it already.
It took me over an hour to install it (A full install)
The first thing to do after you install it, is to make a backup folder and copy all the gauges into it, and another folder to keep copies of all add on gauges you install.
My setup looks like this:
C:\Flight Simulator 9
\Backup Original Gauges
\Backup Add On Gauges
This way you will be able to restore them if something unforeseen happens.
We have plans to revise the way FS9 aircraft are downloaded from the hangar.
Aircraft zip files will only contain gauges that are unique to that aircraft. All other gauges that are used in most of our aircraft will be in a separate zip file that you only need to download once. The non-default gauges will also be stored in a sub-folder of your gauge folder. This will require more effort on the panel artists, but will result in a more organized system.
My computer is a Pentium 4 1.6 gz with 512mb ram and a 64mb Nvidea Graphics card.
Frame rates were about 17-20. The sliders were set on the low to medium positions. When I maxed them out frame rates dropped to 10. This is certainly not a program that you want to be multi-tasking with (running another program simultaneously). It uses all available resources. If your computer has less memory, graphic memory and speed, you may want to keep fs2002. FS2002 is a fine program and Bluegrass will continue to support it.
My study of surveys indicates that over 90% of simmers use FS2002, less than 1% use FS2000 and about 3% use FS98. I know that we have a few pilots that use FS98. I plan on revamping the hangar page and eliminating FS2000. The FS98 hangar will remain, but don’t look for any additional aircraft or scenery unless one of our FS98 users creates it.
I loaded all of our aircraft into FS9 and these are the only ones that work well:
Boeing 314 Clipper
The DHC-3 Otter is OK except for the inside views which I will be working on.
The rest of the aircraft have problems such as doors that stay open, invisible landing gear.
Some appear to be OK, but the flight dynamics are way out of the norm.
Feel free to experiment and report your findings on the forum.
The default DC-3 seems pretty good, but I will need to re-work the panel for my preferences.
I’d recommend installing your aircraft one at a time and trying them before adding others. That way if you run into a problem you will know what to delete.
The floatbase02 scenery looks very good. Most of the coastlines match up. The only one I saw that will need to be relocated was Castries sea base on St Lucia. I didn’t check them all, so if you find any that need adjusting email me. Darrell’s Island, Dinner Key and LaGuardia Marine Terminal are OK, which is a relief since Coleman and I put a lot of effort into those.
The Berlin Airlift scenery also looks good. I only checked Rhein-Main, Weisbaden, Hamburg Sea Base, Lake Havelsee Sea Base, Gatow and Templehoff. Just checked my masterpiece, Burtonwood and it needs some work. Hope its as simple as changing the field elevation.
Overall I am impressed with the compatability issue. Every other new version has required a lot of work to adjust the scenery,
So far we only have 3 pilots who seem to be interested in flying on-line. I have designated Friday at 8pm (EDT) as a normal time to get together on bushnet2. Unfortunately the last two Fridays I had other commitments. It may be best to rethink that time and get some feedback from pilots who might want to fly at other times. With pilots located around the globe, there might be several different times when some of you can get together.
In my thinking, MP lends itself to an increased level of enjoyment in the hobby. It is particularly of interest for low level, short flights. Thus it lends itself well to the kind of operations we have in the Alaska Division.
The positions of Australian and Southern Division Directors are still open.
Our system seems to be working well. You file the flight report with the division in which you are flying. I get a copy of all pireps and forward a copy to your division for inclusion of your hours in their roster. I copy all pireps with comments to that months pirep document and format them and include them on that months pirep spreadsheet. Then I mark them with the division(s) flown in.
At the end of the month I sort the spreadsheet by pilot ID and do a sum of each pilots flights which I then manually input into the main roster. I also sort by division flown and pilots ID to come up with the total of visitor hours for each division.
There are a few events that increase the workload.
1. You file the report to the wrong division. i.e. your own instead of where you flew. In that case I have to forward a copy to the division director of the division you flew in. Sometimes it takes some research to figure out where that is. It would be easy to just go with the flow and let it slide, but the Division Directors have put a lot of effort into building this airline and they deserve to see the number of hours visiting pilots are flying.
If you have trouble figuring which division you are in, then before you take off press Shift Z and look at the co-ordinates. If you are at N36 or higher and not in Alaska, BC, NWT, AB or SK then you are in the Northern Division, other wise you are in the Alaska Div. If you are south of N36 and in a W longtitude you are in the Southern Division. If you are south of N36 and in an E Longtitude then you are in the Australian Division. It doesn’t matter where you land, the division is decided by where you take off.
2. You use the letter O instead of the numeral 0 in you pilots ID, or you put a dash in your ID sometimes. Then when I sort them some of your hours are separated into two places, until I find the errors and correct them.
The most labor intensive part of the job is copying the data from the emails and pasting them into notepad. Now I know that we have some pilots who are skilled in computer programming and cgi scripts etc. Is there a way to automate this process? When I open up my email and see 100 flight reports I realize it will take over an hour just to get them into notepad.
That’s all for this month, I expect August to be busy with many of our pilots checking out the new features of FS9.